The Ivory Tower (Boardwalk Empire)

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"The Ivory Tower"
Boardwalk Empire episode
Jimmy repays his debt.
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 2
Directed byTim Van Patten
Written byTerence Winter
Original air dateSeptember 26, 2010 (2010-09-26)
Running time53 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Broadway Limited"
List of Boardwalk Empire episodes

"The Ivory Tower" is the second episode of the first season of the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire, which originally aired September 26, 2010. The episode was written by series creator and executive producer Terence Winter and directed by executive producer Tim Van Patten.

Nucky is paid a visit by Agent Nelson Van Alden. Jimmy is forced to pay Nucky a larger sum of money. Margaret is visited by Van Alden and Eli, each seeking a different side of her story as to the death of her husband.

Main cast[edit]


At Big Jim Colosimo's funeral in Chicago, Capone and Torrio are questioned by reporters about Colosimo's murder. Back in Atlantic City, Prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden questions Nucky about the robbery he is investigating, revealing his suspicions that Hans Schroeder was framed for them. At Nucky's direction, Eli visits Margaret in the hospital and delivers an envelope of cash, stressing Hans's reported involvement in criminal activities. Nucky confronts Mickey in prison, informing him that his operation is being taken over by African-American gangster Chalky White. Jimmy buys expensive Christmas gifts for his family with part of his share of the robbery proceeds.

In New York, Lucky delivers Frankie Yale to be questioned by Rothstein about his role in Colosimo's murder. Jimmy visits his mother Gillian, a showgirl, and presents her with an expensive necklace, replacing one she had sold to support the family during his childhood. When Jimmy goes to work, where Nucky confronts him about the robbery. After Jimmy admits his and Capone's involvement, Nucky fires him and demands an extra $3,000 share from the proceeds. Rothstein telephones Nucky and demands $100,000 to cover his losses from the robbery, pointing out that a member of his family was among the shooting victims. Nucky refuses the demand. Van Alden visits Margaret at her home, telling her he believes her husband was not involved in the robbery, and questions her about her involvement with Nucky.

Nucky visits his political mentor, "Commodore" Louis Kaestner, who derides the idea of women's suffrage. After Van Alden writes home to his wife, he takes a hair ribbon he had taken from Margaret and smells it. Margaret visits Nucky and returns the money Eli gave her. They discuss Nucky's late wife, Margaret's financial situation, and Margaret's enthusiasm for reading, which appears to impress Nucky. Jimmy steals back the necklace from his mother and resells it in order to pay Nucky back. Nucky demonstrates the change in their relationship by immediately betting, and losing, the $3,000 in a roulette game. Elsewhere, a wounded survivor of the robbery turns up at the shooting scene.


The episode was written by series creator and executive producer Terence Winter and directed by executive producer Tim Van Patten. This is Van Patten's first directional episode of the series. He directs later episodes, Broadway Limited, Family Limitation and the season finale, A Return to Normalcy.

The story about Big Jim Colosimo's death is the one non-fictional story in The Ivory Tower. As seen in the pilot, Frankie Yale murders Jim on orders from Johnny Torrio. It was widely believed that Torrio ordered Colosimo's killing so that the gang could enter the lucrative bootlegging business.


Critical reception[edit]

IGN gave the episode a score of 8 out of 10, calling it " episode that is in some ways better than the pilot." They continued by praising Buscemi's performance as Nucky by saying: "Here, Buscemi effortlessly switches between silver-tongued politician and two-steps-ahead gangster, and in doing so eliminates any previous doubt that Nucky is not as formidable a presence as Tony Soprano."[1]


Ratings for "The Ivory Tower" fell to 3.329 million viewers in its original telecast. However, if the repeat-telecast that night is included, the total viewer count reaches 4.4 million.[2]


  1. ^ Pirrello, Phil (September 27, 2010). "Boardwalk Empire: "The Ivory Tower" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  2. ^ Gorman, Bill (September 28, 2010). "HBO's Boardwalk Empire Dips, 'Eastbound & Down' & 'Bored To Death' Premieres Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 28, 2010.

External links[edit]